Blog, Hong Kong

Cool…Serapian Milano

29 November 2013

Cool…Serapian Milano

My fashion designer friend, Dianne ***, used to work for Burberry and Kate Spade as a handbag designer.     She recently spirited me away to 7 On Lan Street (the old Christian Louboutin store)  to visit Serapian, a designer and maker of leather goods based in Milan.

She worked with Mr Serapian to produce handbags for these brands.  In fact, if you own lots of designer handbags, you probably already own something made by Serapian, who produces handbags for most of the luxury brands around.   In addition, he also has his own collection, characterised by the highest quality materials and beautiful designs.   Leathers are sourced carefully, even the webbing on the handles is chosen with care.

These are not handbags that stand out or are ‘of the moment’ but are beautifully designed, extremely light and will last you for many years to come.   My two picks were an envelope travel bag, the cachemire leather sourced from the tanneries of Hermes with the abovementioned ‘best webbing in the world’ over the shoulder strap. The other bag was a travel bag, designed to fit on your trolley- with a beautifully detailed interior for your travel overflow.  I would fill mine with travel essentials but also my camera equipment- my Leica deserves the best, of course!

They also have a beautiful range of men’s leather goods as well.  This shop is a definite must on your Christmas shopping list.

***You can follow her excellent fashion blog here.


7 On Lan Street (behind Marks and Spencers)

Central, Hong Kong

Read More
Blog, Design

Cool…Wrong for HAY

22 November 2013

Cool…Wrong for HAY

Sebastian Wrong is a designer based in London.   He was one of the founding members of Established & Sons, but has since formed a joint venture with HAY and a spinoff brand, WRONG for HAY (catchy, huh!)

The products have not yet been distributed for sale yet here in HK but there are some great designs from pepper mills to keepsake boxes to lighting.

The launch in London this September was a standout.  It was shown exclusively in a restored Georgian townhouse in St James’s Park, and the contrast between old and very contemporary worked beautifully together.


Read More
Blog, Design, Food

Cool…the best cheese shops in the world…

12 November 2013

Cool…the best cheese shops in the world…

One of my lifelong passions is cheese.   Surprisingly, I am not much of a milk drinker, but I love cheese and ice cream- in that order.   Great in Pacific Place recently unveiled a very classy cheese room.  Alas they would not let me take pictures.  I am not sure why- price checking?  I think it’s pretty clear that Great is one of the most expensive supermarkets in the world.

There is a heavy bent towards French cheese but you can get most of the international favourites:  from Italy, Gorgonzola Dolce and mozzarella, Swiss Gruyere, English Stilton as well as as new world cheeses but without a biscuit in sight. Hmm.   Great also used to  sell Maggie Beer’s Quince Paste from Australia but I haven’t seen it for ages.   I thoroughly recommend getting a block on your next trip to Oz.

What’s the perfect cheeseboard?  A mix of hard and soft cheeses from a couple of different countries with a mix of different milks: sheep,cows and goat.  Add in some nuts, fresh & dried fruit, some quince paste and thinly sliced bread – heaven on a board.

Hong Kong’s very lenient import laws make bringing cheese the perfect souvenir from your trip overseas: so here’s a list of some of the best  cheese shops in the world.


Read More
Art, Blog, Design

Cool…Aesop & Futurism

10 November 2013

Cool…Aesop & Futurism

A few weeks ago I was invited to an event at Aesop’s new store in HK in Hollywood Road, celebrating the launch of their new gift sets based on the Italian Futurist movement.    Just in case you don’t know, the Futurism was an artistic and social movement, led by the Italian artist talians Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who collaborated with artists Umberto BoccioniCarlo CarràGino SeveriniGiacomo BallaAntonio Sant’Elia,Bruno Munari and Luigi Russolo.

These artists were disaffected by contemporary life at the time:  “We want no part of it, the past”, he wrote, “we the young and strong Futurists!“, Marinetti wrote in his manifesto.  Interestingly, Marinetti identified strongly with fascism, but failed to convince Mussolini to make futurism the official art of fascism.  Glorifying war, Marinetti stated  it was “the world’s only hygiene” ,the movement all but died out with the advent of the Second World War and his death.

However, elements of futurism continue to influence contemporary art and design: its interest in speed and movement, its hard edges and discordant thinking.  Its main legacy for design today is, one would argue, its typography.  A glance at Aesop’s packaging will show the heavy influence of futurist typography.  Each set is influenced by a futurist belief: agility, tactility, potency, sonority, aclarity and intensity are the themes of each gift set, ranging from vary from a convenient set of men’s grooming essentials to a comprehensive hand and body care ensemble, to a trio of full-sized products from Aesop’s anti-oxidant Parsley Seed Skin Care range.

In addition to the cool packaging, the  event of Aesop was quite interesting, as it ignored some of the more unsavoury aspects of futurism but concentrated on its aesthetic contributions.  As part of the evening, we were treated to a futurist meal: consisting of quite interesting and contrasting elements: a meat consomme flavoured with rosebuds and champagne, a caramel wrapped in nori etc.

As always, you can’t beat Aesop’s gift sets for Christmas, especially for the man in your life.  They are available in Aesop stores from November worldwide.


Read More
Blog, Cool Places, Design, London

Cool.. Darkroom + Sottsass

1 November 2013

Cool..      Darkroom + Sottsass

Okay, there’s nothing I like more than a good design store and Darkroom in London is no exception. Specialising in ‘unique, hard-to-find items’ (we all like those) it has one of the the best curated design collections I’ve seen anywhere in the world.   Once of of the best things about the store is its beautiful displays usually thematic.   This last month, they have put together a collection of contemporary designs inspired by the designer, Ettore Sottsass.  Sottsass passed away in 2008, but not before he founded  the Italian design movement, Memphis- together with such design luminaries as Michele De Lucci  and Michael Graves.

Their post-Modern designs have been described as has been described as “bizarre”, “misunderstood”, “loathed”, and “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price”.I actually love the Memphis movement, full of fun and colour and using quite sedentary materials like laminate and stainless steel.   Some of my favourite designs are by Sottsass- the exuberant Carlton bookcase and my favourite Valentine typewriter.

I think the Darkroom installation is lovely- I am totally loving the Sottsass inspired wrap  which you can order online.   Actually take a look around the online Darkroom store.   I always wait for my trips to London to make my Darkroom purchases, but for those of you who can’t wait- their store is pretty good too.   Don’t forget you can get the HAY & by Lassen from us.



Read More